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IDF chief of staff discusses Iran threat, surging West Bank violence with US national security advisor

Kochavi and Sullivan affirm their “determination to address security challenges impacting the Middle East"

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan meet in Washington on June 23, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

The current head of the Israeli Defense Forces, Chief of the General Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, spoke about Iran and other regional security concerns on Monday during his last official visit to Washington. 

United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and other senior officials met with Kochavi to affirm that the U.S. is committed to ensuring Iran “never acquires” a nuclear weapon, the White House stated. 

According to a White House description of the meeting, Sullivan and Kochavi emphasized “their shared determination to address security challenges impacting the Middle East, including the threats posed by Iran and its proxies.”

In addition to Iran, Sullivan and Kochavi discussed the deeply deteriorated security situation in Judea and Samaria, with Sullivan echoing the Biden administration’s oft-repeated mantra that a “two-state solution” is the only means to a lasting peace in the Middle East. 

Last week, the White House sent U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr to Israel, where he admonished the state to prepare to strengthen the Palestinian Authority, in light of fears it is about to collapse. 

Amr’s rebuke aligns with Israeli security warnings, who for months have said the P.A. is losing control of cities, such as Jenin and Nablus. 

Last week, Israeli Security Agency Chief Ronen Bar told Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu that a collapse of the P.A. would cause a significant deterioration in the already fragile security situation in the region. 

There are fundamental differences in the views of Israel and the U.S. regarding how to stop Iran from “going nuclear.” 

In a recent August interview with former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, he noted that the Biden administration “does not have a policy to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. They have a policy to contain a nuclear Iran.” 

Dermer, who could be Israel’s next foreign minister, said that closing a nuclear deal with Iran would destroy any semblance of deterrence against the Islamic regime and could give way to war. 

On Monday, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley acknowledged his Israeli counterpart with an honor guard and awarded him with the U.S. Armed Forces Legion of Merit for his role in deepening the strategic partnership between Israel and the U.S., the IDF stated

While in the U.S., Kochavi will meet with CIA Director William Burns, U.S. Central Command Chief Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla and other senior defense officials.

Last week, Kochavi hosted Kurilla on his fourth official visit to Israel as chief of the U.S. Central Command. At the time, Kochavi acknowledged that Israel and the U.S. were “developing joint military capabilities at an accelerated rate in the face of the developing threats in the Middle East, and against the Iranian regime in particular.”

“I would like to express my great appreciation for our close cooperation with the U.S. Armed Forces. Our mutual commitment is demonstrated on a weekly basis. We are operating together on all fronts to gather intelligence, neutralize threats and prepare for various scenarios in either one or multiple arenas,” Kochavi said during Kurilla’s visit. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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